- - Sunday, September 24, 2017

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Ill winds are supposed to bring somebody good, so Al Gore, the circuit-riding global-warming preacher with manuscripts of novels and sequels in his saddle bags, is entitled to his snit. He can blame literary misfortune on Harvey, Irma and Jose.

His latest addendum to his speculation on the catastrophe that never happened, “Inconvenient Sequel,” is not the expected runaway successor to his runaway first book about how lower Manhattan would soon be under water and the polar bears, fleeing their melting ice floes, would by now be devouring the masters of the universe on Wall Street.

The customers are running the other way in droves, and his literary masterpieces are under water on Amazon’s list of what’s selling and what’s not. But Al is not giving up. “This is an unusual time,” he told the World Economic Forum at New York City last week. “Within the past two weeks we have had two more record-breaking, climate-connected storms.” That should have been a convenient truth.

Al had some frightening statistics, sources unknown but scarifying enough to stop anything this side of a famished polar bear. The record-breaking rainfall that followed Hurricane Harvey into southeastern Texas, he told the forum, constituted “a once-in-25,000 years event,” and in some parts of Texas “a once-in-500,000 years event.” But who really knows? By storming deeper into Texas, perhaps as far inland as Gun Barrel City or Possum Kingdom State Park, Harvey might have been a once-in-a-million years event.

“We are departing the familiar bounds of history as we have known it since our civilization began. And why? Because today like all days we will put another 110 million tons of man-made, heat-trapping pollution into the atmosphere, using the sky as an open sewer.”

Such hyperbole was too much pollution of the atmosphere for Roy Spencer, a distinguished doctor of climatology at the University of Alabama at Huntsville. So he, too, has written a 50-page e-book, “Inconvenient Disaster: Why Hurricanes Can’t Be Blamed on Global Warning,” challenging the Chicken Little musings on hurricane weather by Al Gore and his equally distinguished colleagues on the climate, including Stevie Wonder, Leonardo DiCaprio, Pope Francis (though apparently not speaking ex-cathedra) and Jennifer Lawrence.

These worthies were inspired to breathe hysteria into the wind by not just Harvey, but Hurricane Irma, the other of the first two Category 4 hurricanes to strike the Atlantic Coast in the same year in 166 years of record-keeping.

But Prof. Spencer, who was formerly senior scientist for climate studies at NASA, observes that “there have been many years with multiple Category 4 hurricanes in the Atlantic, but there is nothing about global-warming theory that says more of these will make landfall. While the official estimate is that this was the first time that two Cat-4 storms hit the United States since Florida was virtually unpopulated before 1900, we probably don’t really know.”

Such modesty in the face of what man does not yet know is rare in what might be called “the global-warming community,” but the professor’s cool reasoning has found a public audience. His e-book, available on Amazon, is, at the moment, No. 1 on Amazon.

“Inconvenient Disaster” specifically challenges the assertion that this summer’s hurricane season is “what climate-change looks like.” Prof. Spencer argues that the storms are neither an aberration nor the result of rising carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. “This isn’t what human-caused climate change looks like,” he says. “It’s what weather looks like.”

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